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Helping Grandparents Protect Their Relationships with Their Grandchildren

Grandparents play a special role in the lives of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, divorce, substance abuse, family discord and other life circumstances sometimes stand in the way of grandparents continuing to build and strengthen their relationships with the grandchildren they love. At Ballinger Law Firm, we help grandparents remain central, nurturing figures in their grandchildren’s lives.

More and more grandparents have been going to court to establish legal rights to spend time with their grandchildren. A new law makes it easier for grandparents to obtain visitation to their grandchildren. The new law authorizes the family court to order visitation when either or both parents of the minor child is or are deceased, are divorced, or are living separately and apart in different habitats, if the court finds that:

  • The child’s parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit the child, including denying visitation of the minor child to the grandparent for a period exceeding 90 days
  • Awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship

You need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who knows the law and will work hard to ensure that the best interests of your grandchild are protected. At Ballinger Law Firm, we can represent grandparents pursuing child custody or visitation under the special circumstances set forth in this new statute.

Providing Guidance and Counsel to Grandparents

Sometimes parental objection is an obstacle to grandparents asserting their rights. In South Carolina, grandparents’ rights are generally a derivative of their child’s rights. Under typical circumstances, this means that a grandparent may visit a grandchild only when the grandparent’s child (the parent) has visitation. The presumption in favor of awarding custody to the biological parents can be overcome by showing they are unfit for custody.

Grandparents may petition the court for custody or visitation of their grandchildren under limited circumstances. For example, if you have been the primary caregiver for and financial supporter of your grandchild for the necessary period of time, you might qualify as a “de facto custodian” under South Carolina law. Parties who are designated as de facto custodians by the court have standing to petition the court for custody and/or visitation. If you are a “psychological parent,” you might also be granted visitation — even over the objection of a fit biological parent — although this requires extremely compelling circumstances.

The laws regarding grandparents’ rights are complex. If you are concerned about the well-being of your grandchild, we can guide you through this process and help you make the best possible decisions for your grandchild.

Third-Party Custody as Also an Option

In certain circumstances, noncustodial third party apart from a grandparent may be called upon to care for a child. This can occur if one or both parents are deemed unfit by the court. This third party can be a relative or family friend who is able to provide a suitable home for the child in question. At our firm, we can help concerned parties seek out custody rights for children who are in need of care.

Call Ballinger Law Firm Today

Our firm is prepared to help you with your custody needs. To learn more about how we can help you, call our Charleston office today at 843-790-7807. We are also available via email.